Editor’s Corner: an ode to President Obama


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Nobel prize winning and economist Paul Krugman once wrote in a Rolling Stone op-ed that “Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.”

I agree with this statement.

Barack Obama was the first president I ever voted for, and I can safely say I’m glad that I did, regardless of if my vote in Texas counted or not.

Last week, Obama gave one of the most powerful speeches I’ve ever seen a president make. Some may think him to be a weak president, but this was not one of those weak moments. He tapped into something that’s difficult to do unless you’re a second-term president: raw emotional truth-telling.

“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Obama said. “It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel.”

He not only championed for tighter gun laws, he reached out to responsible gun owners to rally behind him.

Obama listens to facts. It’s almost literally his job to pay attention to polling data that says what the American people want. He knows that a large majority of Americans favor tighter gun regulation and laws preventing those with mental illnesses from acquiring a firearm.

Additionally, it was weird growing up with Obama as President, because this is the first president I’ve known who I can actually relate to.

I am part of the 50 percent of Americans who grew up with divorced parents, just like Obama did. What makes me part of the minority, however, is that I grew up without my father being a significant influence on my life, which Obama wrote a book about.

I am also mixed-race with a Hispanic last name and raised by a white mother. Obama had African origins, but our racial situations and upbringing are similar.

In his interview with comedian Marc Maron, Obama detailed how even though he had African origins, he never really connected with African-American culture. This is similar to my disconnect with the Hispanic side of my family.

My point is, Obama connects not just with me, but with a large majority of Americans. He has the ability to empathize with people in a way not many past presidents could.

To me, empathy is what makes a person good. The ability to place yourself in a situation and understand what people are going through, or at least understand how a person feels, is something too many politicians lack.

Lack of empathy, I feel, is what is what contributes to this extremely divisive political culture we have. When you have media outlets passively suggesting that Muslims are terrorists, people will take that to heart without ever thinking about what actually makes people want to commit acts of terror.

When Mitt Romney was running for President in 2012, his biggest problem was his lack of empathy. He was an incredibly wealthy man, going out and telling people to go out and start a business by borrowing money from your parents, not taking into account that not everybody has money to do that.

I’m not saying Obama is flawless, because he definitely has faults, but that just shows how human he is.

I’ll miss this President. It’s been a good eight years.

Opinion editor Anthony Torres is a political science junior and may be reached at [email protected]


  • Sorry Anthony, empathy alone does not make a man a leader or a good president. This man will go down as the worst president in our history. This man has done nothing but divide this country and at every opportunity tried or succeeded at destroying the fabric of it.

    • President Obama didn’t divide the country. It was already divided. The hate, bigotry, and prejudice came to the forefront having a black man in the White House. BTW you do remember Mitch telling the world on election night that it was his mission to make sure he did everything he could to keep President Obama from getting anything done and from getting reelected?? President Obama has, as of this morning per a Republican pollster, a 48% approval rating. Along with another 10% soft approval. Mid fifties in the political climate of the day is extraordinary! Kirk, you offer nothing but negativity, which you and people like you try to channel to the rest of the population. It isn’t working. President Obama is a good man and has been a good president.

      • The mere fact that you read, was told, or believe that Mitch McConnells statement is somehow an indication of racial prejudice is the epitome of how messed up this country has become.

        Newsflash!!! Mitch McConnell was the GOP senate minority leader. The GOP and Democrats have been fighting each other since President Lincoln (GOP) was elected. Which resulted in the Democrat south to secede!!

        You also fail to mention Presidents Obama’s statement during his first meeting with GOP leaders, immediately after his inauguration in 2009. He said, “elections have consequences, I won.”

        What atmosphere do you think that created? One of unity??

        • LOL You are probably the only person that doesn’t think President Obama faces racism along with all of the politics. My neighbor openly used the ‘N’ word directed at him. You sure are selective in your half truth. BTW What would you say if you were him after he was attacked on election night and every day after that? I would tell them the same thing President Bush did. Elections have consequences!

  • I think you are confusing your personal feelings for Mr. Obama with the success of his tenure as President. If you wanted to take a look at things like policy and programs and talk about the state of the country financially, diplomatically, etc. that would make sense. Unfortunately, you feeling as though you relate to him, how he has divorced parents and wrote a book about it, or that you feel he is an empathetic man is not enough to qualify a successful presidency. I don’t doubt Mr. Obama is a good man, and I’d like to sit down and have a drink with him, but we need to judge our leaders by their effectiveness and the facts, not on personality.

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